2014-04-21Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095379
Two Novel EHEC/EAEC Hybrid Strains Isolated from Human Infections
The so far highest number of life-threatening hemolytic uremic syndrome was associated with a food-borne outbreak in 2011 in Germany which was caused by an enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) of the rare serotype O104:H4. Most importantly, the outbreak strain harbored genes characteristic of both EHEC and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC). Such strains have been described seldom but due to the combination of virulence genes show a high pathogenicity potential. To evaluate the importance of EHEC/EAEC hybrid strains in human disease, we analyzed the EHEC strain collection of the German National Reference Centre for Salmonella and other Bacterial Enteric Pathogens (NRC). After exclusion of O104:H4 EHEC/EAEC strains, out of about 2400 EHEC strains sent to NRC between 2008 and 2012, two strains exhibited both EHEC and EAEC marker genes, specifically were stx2 and aatA positive. Like the 2011 outbreak strain, one of the novel EHEC/EAEC harbored the Shiga toxin gene type stx2a. The strain was isolated from a patient with bloody diarrhea in 2010, was serotyped as O59:H−, belonged to MLST ST1136, and exhibited genes for type IV aggregative adherence fimbriae (AAF). The second strain was isolated from a patient with diarrhea in 2012, harbored stx2b, was typed as Orough:H−, and belonged to MLST ST26. Although the strain conferred the aggregative adherence phenotype, no known AAF genes corresponding to fimbrial types I to V were detected. In summary, EHEC/EAEC hybrid strains are currently rarely isolated from human disease cases in Germany and two novel EHEC/EAEC of rare serovars/MLST sequence types were characterized.
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